5 jul. 2012

Default

So, yes, other styles are also possible, but the default is a kind of Lorine Niedecker concision, for poet-translators of a certain type (like myself). Exceptions might be perceived as crossing the line, as when Frank O'Hara uses the "dim lands of peace" construction decried by Pound.

But this default is balanced against the need for resonance with a larger tradition that includes Hopkins or Spenser. In other words, you can translate into a language that is more resonant than the more spare version of the Pound-Williams tradition. Pound himself frequently uses archaic elements when translating.

5 comentarios:

scott g.f.bailey dijo...

Can one look at, say poems translated into English in the 19th-century and compare them to 20th- or 21st-century translations of the same poems and see how the style of poetry translation has changed as the style of prose evolved? I ask this because I'm assuming your claim is that the current default translation style is based on Modernist prose, as you mention Hemingway. So there must be a break somewhere, yes?

Jonathan dijo...

Sure, Victorian translation uses Victorian poetic language. Renaissance translation uses renaissance language. At any given time there is a "default."

scott g.f.bailey dijo...

Well, this is very interesting, how the poetic language of the target language can change the reading experience of the poem over time. The cultures and interpretations around the poem transform while the poem itself is static. Which, I'm sure, has been observed plenty often already but I've never considered it before. So hmmm.

Jonathan dijo...

Another way of saying this is that the "acceptability" of the poetic language of the target language is a function, not of the original, but of the target literary culture.

scott g.f.bailey dijo...

And of the translator, which makes me understand your posts about how translation of any given poem has to be a creative act or you're not interested in it. Now I wonder about translations by people whose sensibilities aren't "acceptable" by the target literary culture. The translated poems get misjudged as "bad poetry?" "So-and-so's poems are dull and old-fashioned."